Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pirates Game 106 Preview - @ San Francisco Giants

Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants - 10:15 p.m.
Francisco Liriano (2-7, 4.18) vs. Tim Hudson (8-7, 2.65)

Season Series (Pirates lead 3-1)
May 5, 2014 - San Francisco 11, Pittsburgh 10 (13 inn.) [Recap]
May 6, 2014 - Pittsburgh 2, San Francisco 1 [Recap]
May 7, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, San Francisco 3 [Recap]
July 28, 2014 - Pittsburgh 5, San Francisco 0 [Recap]


Lineups

Pittsburgh (56-49)
1. Harrison 5
2. Polanco 9
3. McCutchen 8
4. Walker 4
5. Martin 2
6. Davis 3
7. Snider 7
8. Mercer 6
9. Liriano 1

San Francisco (57-49)
1. Pence 9
2. Blanco 8
3. Posey 3
4. Sandoval 5
5. Morse 7
6. Susac 2
7. Uggla 4
8. Crawford 6
9. Hudson 1

Pirates Game 105 Recap - Pirates 5, Giants 0

In 2014 the Pirates haven't been overly good against left handed pitching. That is somewhat weird because in 2013 anytime a southpaw was on the bump the Pirates beat them down pretty well but for some reason that hasn't carried over to this year. Well, until last night.

They were facing Madison Bumgarner last night and to be honest I didn't have a good feeling about that at all. That was until after the first inning when the Pirates got all over Bumgarner for four runs on three hits and two walks and had him throw 42 pitches. Bumgarner didn't have his best stuff and that was pretty obvious but the Pirates put together some really outstanding plate appearances and when they got a pitch to hit they laced it. Two of the three outs in the inning were sacrifice flies and Brent Morel grounded out to end the inning as the eighth batter. Just great stuff.

The real story thought might have been Vance Worley. He and Edison Volquez are the two guys that are probably fighting for one spot once Gerrit Cole comes back and while Volquez struggled in his last start Worley nearly pulled off a Maddux (complete game shutout in fewer than 100 pitches). Worley threw exactly 100 pitches and faced two batters over the minimum thanks in part to a pair of double plays and a caught stealing. 71 of his pitches went for strikes and he threw less than 15 pitches in every inning excluding the seventh (17 pitches) and threw 10 or less in each of the third through sixth innings. He was crazy efficient.

The Pirates offense really didn't do a whole lot after the first inning. Josh Harrison tacked on the fifth run in the second inning with a home run but the Pirates had only three other hits after that. I guess it really doesn't matter since Worley was so good and they were able to knock out Bumgarner after only four innings but putting up eight or nine runs would have been nice.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Pirates Game 105 Preview - @ San Francisco Giants

Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants - 10:15 p.m.
Vance Worley (3-1, 3.10) vs. Madison Bumgarner (12-7, 3.19)

Season Series (Pirates lead 2-1)
May 5, 2014 - San Francisco 11, Pittsburgh 10 (13 inn.) [Recap]
May 6, 2014 - Pittsburgh 2, San Francisco 1 [Recap]
May 7, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, San Francisco 3 [Recap]


Lineups

Pittsburgh (55-49)
1. Harrison 7
2. Mercer 6
3. McCutchen 8
4. Sanchez 3
5. Walker 4
6. Martin 2
7. Polanco 9
8. Morel 5
9. Worley 1

San Francisco (57-48)
1. Pence 9
2. Panik 4
3. Posey 2
4. Sandoval 5
5. Morse 3
6. Colvin 7
7. Blanco 8
8. Crawford 6
9. Bumgarner 1

Pirates Game 104 Recap - Pirates 7, Rockies 5

The Pirates can be a frustrating team to watch. The first two games of this series were both 8-1 losses and even with the win yesterday you can say that the Pirates haven't yet played a good game against the Rockies this year but somehow are 4-2 against them.

The offense broke out with seven runs and 16 hits but still left 12 guys on base and only went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position. They had chances early to put the Rockies away and they couldn't do it. It allowed the Rockies to take the lead in the fourth inning and tie the game in the seventh inning. Luckily for the Pirates Josh Harrison and Gregory Polanco went back-to-back in the eighth inning and the Pirates got it done. Salvaged a win in the series and while that is way less than ideal it is better than getting swept by a bad team.

Edison Volquez wasn't overly good. He walked four hitters in only 4.1 innings and gave up six hits. For the most part this year Volquez has really done good job this year of throwing strikes but it really looked like he was overthrowing his pitches yesterday and it caused him to work from behind in the count on a lot of batters. He threw 99 pitches in less than five innings of work and only 56 of those went for strikes. Not good, but it was good enough and in baseball games good enough counts just the same in the win column. Volquez certainly wasn't getting help from Pedro Alvarez's defense but what is new?

All-Star Josh Harrison was the star of the game. He had four hits, drove in a pair, and scored two runs. He also did this for the second time this year. I still don't think Harrison is a viable option as an everyday player but he still is a valuable asset especially with the injury problems the Pirates have had.

You know who hasn't been bad? Travis Snider. I was all for Snider being DFA'd when Polanco came up but instead it was Jose Tabata that got the ax. I thought it was the wrong call but up until this point I have been dead wrong. All Snider has done since June 1 is hitting .333/.385/.533 with three doubles and three home runs. He leads the entire league in pinch hits and has actually been good. Granted those numbers are in only 65 plate appearances but when the Pirates need someone to come off the bench Snider has been as good as anyone else on the team. After how he played the first few months of the year it is really nice to see him coming through even when he isn't getting everyday at bats. It's not easy to come off the bench and hit when you have been sitting all game.

Chris Stewart had three hits and is now hitting .269/.355/.301 and while I don't think he is good that is a pretty decent line for a backup catcher than is going to play once a week. I think the lack of extra base hits is alarming but when you aren't playing a whole ton of games you can get by. If you backup catcher can get a hit or so per game and get on base then you will take it.

The best thing that happened all day was that the Pirates were able to get to the Rockies bullpen by the fifth inning thanks to Franklin Morales throwing nearly 100 pitches (walking five). The Rockies bullpen is really awful and once the Pirates got to it and had it throw more than one or two innings you pretty much knew the Pirates were going to win the game. The Pirates got 10 hits and five runs over the final five innings off the bullpen and thus a win.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pirates Game 104 Preview - @ Colorado Rockies

Pittsburgh Pirates at Colorado Rockies - 4:10 p.m.
Edinson Volquez (8-7, 3.86) vs. Franklin Morales (5-5, 5.21)

Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 3-2)
July 18, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, Colorado 2 [Recap]
July 19, 2014 - Pittsburgh 3, Colorado 2 (11 inn.)
July 20, 2014 - Pittsburgh 5, Colorado 3 [Recap]
July 25, 2014 - Colorado 8, Pittsburgh 1
July 26, 2014 - Colorado 8, Pittsburgh 1


Lineups

Pittsburgh (54-49)
1. Harrison 7
2. Polanco 9
3. McCutchen 8
4. Sanchez 3
5. Walker 4
6. Mercer 6
7. Alvarez 5
8. Stewart 2
9. Volquez 1

Colorado (43-60)
1. Blackmon 8
2. Rutledge 6
3. Dickerson 7
4. Arenado 5
5. Paulsen 3
6. Rosario 2
7. Barnes 9
8. LeMahieu 4
9. Morales 1

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pirates Game 103 Preview - @ Colorado Rockies

Pittsburgh Pirates at Colorado Rockies - 8:10 p.m.
Jeff Locke (2-1, 3.05) vs. Tyler Matzek (1-4, 4.91)

Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 3-1)
July 18, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, Colorado 2 [Recap]
July 19, 2014 - Pittsburgh 3, Colorado 2 (11 inn.)
July 20, 2014 - Pittsburgh 5, Colorado 3 [Recap]
July 25, 2014 - Colorado 8, Pittsburgh 1


Lineups

Pittsburgh (54-48)
1. Harrison 7
2. Mercer 6
3. McCutchen 8
4. Sanchez 3
5. Walker 4
6. Martin 2
7. Polanco 9
8. Morel 5
9. Locke 1

Colorado (42-60)
1. Blackmon 7
2. Rutledge 6
3. Arenado 5
4. Gonzalez 9
5. Rosario 3
6. Stubbs 8
7. McKenry 2
8. LeMahieu 4
9. Matzek 1

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pirates Game 102 Preview - @ Colorado Rockies

Pittsburgh Pirates at Colorado Rockies - 8:40 p.m.
Charlie Morton (5-9, 3.28) vs. Brett Anderson (0-3, 4.00)

Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 3-0)
July 18, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, Colorado 2 [Recap]
July 19, 2014 - Pittsburgh 3, Colorado 2 (11 inn.)
July 20, 2014 - Pittsburgh 5, Colorado 3 [Recap]


Lineups

Pittsburgh (54-47)
1. Polanco 9
2. Harrison 7
3. McCutchen 8
4. Sanchez 3
5. Walker 4
6. Martin 2
7. Mercer 6
8. Morel 5
9. Morton 1

Colorado (41-60)
1. Blackmon 8
2. Rutledge 6
3. Dickerson 7
4. Gonzalez 9
5. Arenado 5
6. Paulsen 3
7. Rosario 2
8. LeMahieu 4
9. Anderson 1

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pirates Game 101 Recap - Pirates 6, Dodgers 1

For much of the season Francisco Liriano has been less than inspiring. Tonight, he was the Liriano of 2013 and the Pirates cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Dodgers. The Pirates won the series from the Dodgers and also won the season series. Sure, the Pirates didn't face Clayton Kershaw at all and didn't have to face Hanley Ramirez or Yasiel Puig this series but who cares, wins are wins and you can't look down on any wins, especially in the final 60 some odd games.

The Pirates all but won the game in the first inning. They sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs on three hits off LA starter Dan Haren. Haren did settle down after that and managed to give up just one more run over the next four innings but the Pirates were all over him in the first. It started with a Russell Martin bases loaded walk which was followed by a sacrifice fly from Ike Davis and a Josh Harrison double that scored two and that was all the Pirates needed.

It was interesting after the first inning that despite facing nine batters and walking four Haren had only thrown two more pitches than Liriano who didn't give up a hit and only walked two. The Pirates were getting to Haren early in the count and Travis Berardi gave this nice little nugget:


Whatever works, right?

Liriano though, was spot on. After throwing 22 pitches in the first inning he threw no more than 15 pitches in any other inning which included throwing only 16 pitches between the fourth and fifth innings. Coming in, and during the broadcast, it was noted about how Liriano has lost some velo on his slider but tonight it was back up to its 2013 levels. He threw his slider 37 times tonight and averaged just over 88 mph and threw it for a strike 24 times and got five swings and misses. That is about two mph faster on his slider than he's averaged this season and his strike% is way higher than his season average of 35%. All-in-all it was really good stuff.

The Pirates offense fizzled out after the first inning but added on runs in the second inning on a massive Travis Snider home run and then Snider scored from first on a McCutchen double in the seventh inning.

Good stuff on the series win. Long West Coast swing coming up which means a lot of late night baseball. Hooray!

Pirates Game 101 Preview - vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates - 7:05 p.m.
Dan Haren (8-7, 4.30) vs. Francisco Liriano (1-7, 4.43)

Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 4-2)
May 29, 2014 - Pittsburgh 6, Los Angeles 3
May 30, 2014 - Pittsburgh 2, Los Angeles 1 [Recap]
May 31, 2014 - Los Angeles 12, Pittsburgh 2
June 1, 2014 - Pittsburgh 5, Los Angeles 3 [Recap]
July 21, 2014 - Los Angeles 5, Pittsburgh 2 [Recap]
July 22, 2014 - Pittsburgh 12, Los Angeles 7 [Recap]


Lineups

Pittsburgh (53-47)
1. Polanco 9
2. Snider 7
3. McCutchen 8
4. Walker 4
5. Martin 2
6. Davis 3
7. Harrison 5
8. Mercer 6
9. Liriano 1

Los Angeles (56-46)
1. Gordon 4
2. Kemp 9
3. Gonzalez 3
4. Van Slyke 8
5. Uribe 5
6. Crawford 7
7. Rojas 6
8. Butera 2
9. Haren 1

Pirates Game 100 Recap - Pirates 12, Dodgers 7

Typically when your offense scores 12 runs on 12 hits, walks five times, and has five players have multiple hits that will pretty much dominate the recap of the game and give you the thought that this was a pretty easy win. That pretty much is the exact opposite of what happened last night. The Dodgers kept coming back on the Pirates thanks to shoddy defense and the overwhelming storyline was that Justin Wilson was intentionally throwing at batters. What a weird game.

The Pirates really controlled most of the game. It was close throughout the entire game but every single time the Dodgers scored the Pirates answered. The Bucs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second and the Dodgers tied it in the third which was followed by the Pirates scoring two runs in the bottom half of the inning. The Dodgers again tied the game in the sixth inning but the Pirates responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning. The Dodgers scored three runs over the seventh and eighth innings while the Pirates answered with four runs in the bottom of the eighth. Every time the Dodgers got close the Pirates answered. That is what good offenses do.

Vance Worley is really pitching for his spot in the rotation with Gerrit Cole coming back and the Pirates said to be looking for some starting pitching help. He was a little up and down last night as he gave up four runs, although only one of them was earned thanks to another throwing error from Pedro Alvarez and a throwing error from Josh Harrison. It must be like a rule that you have to commit at least one throwing error if you come in to play third base. Worley gave up seven hits and two walks over six innings and threw 69 of his 98 pitches for strikes so it was pretty solid.

Ike Davis decided that he wanted to contribute to the offense with three hits and a home run (!!!). It was Davis' first home run since early June and his first hit since July 9th. Holy hell he's been bad but last night he bounced back and even got a hit off a left handed pitcher. Mass hysteria.

Gregory Polanco, Travis Snider, Neil Walker, Russell Martin all had two hits and the only member of the team in the top seven of the lineup without a hit was Andrew McCutchen. Weird.

The Dodgers pitching staff that threw last night was awful. I mean really awful. Josh Beckett was making his first start after coming off the DL and didn't even last four innings while giving up four runs on six hits and throwing 69 pitches. Beckett was tagged for three home runs giving up two home runs in the second inning (Walker, Davis) and another in the third (Polanco). After Beckett cam former Pirate Paul Maholm who gave up a pair of runs. Jamey Wright was fairly awful giving up two more runs, one on a wild pitch, then former Indians closer Chris Perez came in and got an out before walking the next four hitters. Perez gave up four runs in 0.1 innings and didn't give up a hit. Good job, good effort, Chris.

The real highlight of the night came in sixth and seventh innings. McCutchen was hit by Wright in the sixth inning. The pitch hit him up in the shoulder and it was in the head region so it was pretty scary. At the time I didn't think anything of it because Wright had been pitching terribly and he only threw 17 strikes in 31 pitches. In my mind it wasn't intentional because he sucked.

Well, evidently Justin Wilson didn't think so. He came in the seventh inning and the first batter he faced was Justin Turner
and he threw the first pitch pretty far inside and then hit Tuner on the hip with his second pitch. He was immediately eject which prompted Clint Hurdle from being ejected. The next batter, Adrian Gonzalez, hit a home run with Turner on first. So instead of a four run lead with the guy you wanted in there it was a two run lead with the guy you didn't want in there. That will really show the Dodgers who is boss!

Most of you know I am against this stupid shit. Intentionally hitting batters is as stupid as protecting "the code" in hockey and all the "unwritten rules" in baseball. The goal of baseball is to keep runners off base and you are intentionally putting a guy on base. That happened last night and he scored. How does that help? I know people are saying you have to stick up for your teammate but it's pretty easy to say that McCutchen wasn't hit on purpose. So any time Cutch gets hit, intentionally or not, you have to throw at the other team? That seems pretty counter productive. So what if the Pirates are in a one run game and that happens? Does losing the game justify hitting Turner? Not to me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pirates Game 100 Preview - vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates - 7:05 p.m.
Josh Beckett (6-5, 2.26) vs. Vance Worley (2-1, 3.38)

Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 3-2)
May 29, 2014 - Pittsburgh 6, Los Angeles 3
May 30, 2014 - Pittsburgh 2, Los Angeles 1 [Recap]
May 31, 2014 - Los Angeles 12, Pittsburgh 2
June 1, 2014 - Pittsburgh 5, Los Angeles 3 [Recap]
July 21, 2014 - Los Angeles 5, Pittsburgh 2 [Recap]


Lineups

Pittsburgh (52-47)
1. Polanco 9
2. Snider 7
3. McCutchen 8
4. Walker 4
5. Martin 2
6. Davis 3
7. Alvarez 5
8. Mercer 6
9. Worley 1

Los Angeles (56-45)
1. Gordon 4
2. Turner 6
3. Gonzalez 3
4. Kemp 9
5. Ethier 8
6. Crawford 7
7. Uribe 5
8. Ellis 2
9. Beckett 1

Pirates Game 99 Recap - Dodgers 5, Pirates 2

For much of the season Edison Volquez has been really good. Last night was one of those nights where he didn't have his best stuff and it seemed like every ball that was put in play found a hole or the Pirates couldn't make the play. The Pirates were able to survive that kinda stuff against Colorado but against Hyun-Jin Ryu they weren't going to be as lucky.

The Dodgers got five runs over the third and fourth inning and while the Pirates were able to chip away with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning you just really never got the idea that the game was close. I guess the best chance the Pirates had was in the eighth inning when Brian Wilson came in but at that point it was too little too late.

Volquez wasn't even able to make it through six innings as he threw over 100 pitches in 5.2 innings while giving up 10 hits and walking three more. You are not going to be very successful when your WHIP is over 2.0. It maybe wasn't as bad as you might think as Josh Harrison let a ball hit right at him get by two score two runs with two outs in the fourth and that opened the gates for another run to score. The Pirates official scorer gave that a double but as we know the Pirates official scorer has some head scratching decisions.

Nevertheless the outing wasn't great for Volquez. I guess you can just chalk this up to a 'meh' outing as he has been pitching pretty well for the most part this year and this wasn't a gem that I necessarily had the Pirates winning. That being said when you don't have to face Hanley Ramirez or Yasil Puig then you are getting a break and it would have been nice to take advantage of that.

Not sure if it means anything but Ernesto Frieri had another good outing. I mean this only makes it back-to-back outings where he has had shutout appearances but it is worlds better than the rest of his time as a Pirate. I guess it still remains to be seen what he can bring but he threw nine of his 13 pitches for strikes and while he gave up a hit he looked pretty well. He worked his fastball in the mid-90s and this would be a huge change for the bullpen if he can get back to throwing strikes, even if that isn't coming in high leverage situations.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pirates Game 99 Preview - vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates - 7:05 p.m.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-5, 3.44) vs. Edinson Volquez (8-6, 3.65)

Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 3-1)
May 29, 2014 - Pittsburgh 6, Los Angeles 3
May 30, 2014 - Pittsburgh 2, Los Angeles 1 [Recap]
May 31, 2014 - Los Angeles 12, Pittsburgh 2
Jun1 1, 2014 - Pittsburgh 5, Los Angeles 3 [Recap]


Lineups

Pittsburgh (52-46)
1. Harrison 5
2. Marte 7
3. McCutchen 8
4. Sanchez 3
5. Walker 4
6. Martin 2
7. Mercer 6
8. Martinez 9
9. Volquez 1

Los Angeles (55-45)
1. Gordon 4
2. Turner 6
3. Gonzalez 3
4. Kemp 9
5. Ethier 8
6. Crawford 7
7. Uribe 5
8. Ellis 2
9. Ryu 1

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pirates Game 98 Recap - Pirates 5, Rockies 3

The Pirates didn't play good baseball out of the All Star break. Luckily for the Pirates the Rockies are not a very good baseball team and therefore the Pirates earned a three game sweep and have a chance to move within 1.5 games of Milwaukee and St. Louis in the NL Central race.

Jeff Locke wasn't good and he wasn't bad. He gave up a first inning three run bomb to Josh Rutledge and then the very next inning Michael McKenry went deep and it as 3-0. The funny thing was that while it was 3-0 I didn't think for a second that Colorado was going to win the game. It was kinda of what was going on the entire series but you knew the Pirates were going to come back and win and they did.

Locke ended up going six innings, walking two, and giving up seven hits and settled down after the second inning. I think last year's Locke would have just imploded with a series of walks and awful pitches but he seems different this year. Filling up the zone has just done wonders for his game and despite putting a few guys on he still threw 58 pitches for strikes of the 85 he threw.

The Pirates got two of the runs back in the third inning thanks to a Jordy Mercer double and then tied the game in the sixth on a Chris Stewart double (!!!) which was his second extra base hit of the game (!!!).

In the seventh the Rockies decided to pitch to Andrew McCutchen with first base open and a 3-1 count in the seventh inning and that worked about for the Rockies about as well as you thought it would. Later in the inning Neil Walker went deep and that was it.

For the most part this season McCutchen has put the team on his back. This series it really hasn't been that way. Walker and Mercer have been nothing short of outstanding and when you can get Stewart to come in with a couple of extra base hits you don't want to waste that in a loss.

Walker has been a man on fire after the break. In the series he was 7-for-12 with a pair of three hit games and scored five runs. When he is on his hot streaks he can really carry the offense. Usually the hot streaks don't last a very long time but with a big series coming up against the Dodgers it is going to be huge for Walker to be on one of those streaks and help out the offense against a very good Dodgers staff.

Good stuff from Stewart after the game:



Stewart had one extra base hit before coming into today.

Along with 12 hits today the Pirates walked five times. That will win you a lot of games.

Pirates Game 98 Preview - vs. Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies at Pittsburgh Pirates - 1:35 p.m.
Tyler Matzek (1-4, 4.97) vs. Jeff Locke (2-1, 2.89)

Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 2-0)
July 18, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, Colorado 2 [Recap]
July 19, 2014 - Pittsburgh 3, Colorado 2 (11 inn.)


Lineups

Pittsburgh (51-46)
1. Polanco 9
2. Harrison 7
3. McCutchen 8
4. Sanchez 3
5. Walker 4
6. Mercer 6
7. Alvarez 5
8. Stewart 2
9. Locke 1

Colorado (40-57)
1. Barnes 7
2. Rutledge 6
3. Gonzalez 9
4. Arenado 5
5. Stubbs 8
6. Culberson 3
7. McKenry 2
8. LeMahieu 4
9. Matzek 1

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pirates Game 97 Preview - vs. Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies at Pittsburgh Pirates - 7:05 p.m.
Brett Anderson (0-3, 4.95) vs. Charlie Morton (5-9, 3.32)

Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 1-0)
July 18, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, Colorado 2 [Recap]


Lineups

Pittsburgh (50-46)
1. Polanco 9
2. Harrison 7
3. McCutchen 8
4. Martin 2
5. Walker 4
6. Sanchez 3
7. Alvarez 5
8. Mercer 6
9. Morton 1

Colorado (40-56)
1. Blackmon 8
2. Arenado 5
3. Gonzalez 3
4. Tulowitzki 6
5. Dickerson 7
6. Rosario 2
7. Culberson 3
8. LeMahieu 4
9. Anderson 1

The Pirates and Ian Kennedy?

Got this tidbit today from Ken Rosenthal:



This would make me happy. The Pirates are obviously not going to go out and get a guy like David Price nor were they ever players for a guy like Jeff Samardzija but the fact remains that they need pitching help. While guys like Vance Worley and Jeff Locke have kept things in check it surely wouldn't hurt for them to pick up an arm for the rotation. Francisco Liriano still has something to prove and Gerrit Cole has had a hard time staying healthy and consistent this season.

Brandon Cumpton has been pretty good but to be honest with you I am not sure that he is the type of guy I would really trust down the stretch run. That is just more of a gut feeling on my part but if you gave me a choice between Kennedy and Cumpton I think I would take Kennedy every time.

Kennedy really burst on to the scene back in 2011 when he headlined the Arizona staff into the playoffs with a 2.88 ERA over 222 innings. The last couple of years he has struggled a good bit but seems to be back on the track this year than he was in 2011.

Year Age Tm W L ERA GS IP H R HR BB SO FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9
2007 22 NYY 1 0 1.89 3 19.0 13 6 1 9 15 3.77 1.158 6.2 0.5 4.3 7.1
2008 23 NYY 0 4 8.17 9 39.2 50 37 5 26 27 5.45 1.916 11.3 1.1 5.9 6.1
2009 24 NYY 0 0 0.00 0 1.0 0 0 0 2 1 10.10 2.000 0.0 0.0 18.0 9.0
2010 25 ARI 9 10 3.80 32 194.0 163 87 26 70 168 4.33 1.201 7.6 1.2 3.2 7.8
2011 26 ARI 21 4 2.88 33 222.0 186 73 19 55 198 3.22 1.086 7.5 0.8 2.2 8.0
2012 27 ARI 15 12 4.02 33 208.1 216 101 28 55 187 4.04 1.301 9.3 1.2 2.4 8.1
2013 28 TOT 7 10 4.91 31 181.1 180 108 27 73 163 4.59 1.395 8.9 1.3 3.6 8.1
2013 28 ARI 3 8 5.23 21 124.0 128 79 18 48 108 4.60 1.419 9.3 1.3 3.5 7.8
2013 28 SDP 4 2 4.24 10 57.1 52 29 9 25 55 4.58 1.343 8.2 1.4 3.9 8.6
2014 29 SDP 7 9 3.62 21 129.1 120 53 10 37 137 2.98 1.214 8.4 0.7 2.6 9.5
8 Yrs 60 49 3.95 162 994.2 928 465 116 327 896 3.93 1.262 8.4 1.0 3.0 8.1
162 Game Avg. 13 10 3.95 34 207 194 97 24 68 187 3.93 1.262 8.4 1.0 3.0 8.1
ARI (4 yrs) 48 34 3.82 119 748.1 693 340 91 228 661 3.96 1.231 8.3 1.1 2.7 7.9
NYY (3 yrs) 1 4 6.03 12 59.2 63 43 6 37 43 4.99 1.676 9.5 0.9 5.6 6.5
SDP (2 yrs) 11 11 3.81 31 186.2 172 82 19 62 192 3.47 1.254 8.3 0.9 3.0 9.3
NL (5 yrs) 59 45 3.82 150 935.0 865 422 110 290 853 3.86 1.235 8.3 1.1 2.8 8.2
AL (3 yrs) 1 4 6.03 12 59.2 63 43 6 37 43 4.99 1.676 9.5 0.9 5.6 6.5
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/19/2014.

Currently Kennedy is striking out better than a batter per inning (9.53) which is well above his career average of 8.11 and he has got his HR/FB way down to 7.8% which is much lower than it was in 2012 (10.8%) and 2013 (13.2%) and nearly identical to his 2011 rate (7.7%).

His ERA is more than a full run lower than last year (3.62 this season) and has a 2.98 FIP and 3.24 xFIP. This is in part to getting a lot more ground balls (41.7%, highest of career) and having a line drive rate of 20.9% which is nearly 3% better than last season.

Kennedy rolls with a fastball, curveball, and change up and this season he is averaging nearly 92 mph on his fastball which is the highest of his career after averaging under 91 his entire career.

Kennedy isn't a staff ace but he would fit nicely in behind Cole and Morton and would give the Pirates a lot more depth. Granted, I am not sure what it might take to get Kennedy but he is also under team control through next season which is something that Huntington has always like to have when trading for a player. The Pirates haven't shied away from deals like this in the past and Neal Huntington has been able to improve the team at the deadline each of the past three deadlines. This would improve the team and hopefully this gains legs.

UPDATE: Tim over at Pirates Prospects tries to give some kind of idea as to what trade value might be and he also gives his thoughts.